June 27, 2017
Source: Norvan Acquah – Hayford/thebftonline.com/Ghana
The U.S Ambassador to Ghana, Mr. Robert Porter Jackson, has called on the government to fast- track the setting up of the special prosecutor’s office to help fight corruption in the country.
Ambassador Jackson, who spoke to the B&FT ahead of America’s National Day which falls on July 4, said: “Am not surprised at the level of corruption but am disappointed. But I would like to see the appointment of the special prosecutor sooner than later. Not because I wish to see anyone in jail but the fact that people are not being prosecuted sends a message that you can get away with robbery and that’s not acceptable.”
He called for fast-tracking of the setting up of the Office of the Special Prosecutor to deal with the 2015 Tema Central Medical Stores fire.
About US$80 million worth of medicines were burnt into ashes in 2015 when fire razed the Central Medical Stores at Tema in the Greater Accra Region.
A committee established to investigate the case blamed it on arson. But in 2016, 12 officials of the Ghana Health Service, who were also accused of playing various roles in the arson, they are yet to be arraigned before court.
About US$7million worth of American tax payer-funded medical supplies were part of the stock consumed in the Tema Central Medical Stores fire.
“The U.S people donated more than US$7million worth of goods which went up in flames at the Tema Central Medical Stores. People have been accused but they have not yet gone to trial. I would like to see them called to account for what appears to have been deliberately planned as in to hide theft. Â I hope the government is building cases that will stand up in court, I think we will find out together,” he said.
It will be called that the former UK High Commissioner to Ghana, Jon Benjamin before leaving the shores of Ghana disclosed that, the UK Parliament is worried over the Central Medical Stores fire in Ghana which occurred some two years ago.
According to him, UK also funded £4 million worth of medicines that were consumed in the fire.
“In the Central Medical stores, there were £4 million pounds worth of medicines bought by the UK through our DFID programme that were there and were destroyed and we had to account for that money and questions were asked in the UK Parliament. So, we had to say what had happened and what was being done about it. So, I think that was a legitimate reason for us to raise our concerns,” Jon Benjamin said.
Meanwhile the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, last week hinted that the office of the proposed special prosecutor will be up and running in six months time.
According to him, setting up of the office has become necessary and urgent primarily due to that fact that so much money belonging to the state are finding its way into the pockets of private individual and this needs to be halted.
President Akufo-Addo in February named lawyer Akoto Ampaw as the first person to fill the position of Independent or Special Prosecutor pending Parliamentary approval.
The respected lawyer has defended media freedom over the years and is said to have “accepted the post” pending the processes in setting up the office.